In its original incarnation, John Cage's enigmatic 49 WALTZES FOR THE 5 BOROUGHS offers no hints as to how it might be performed; the "score," such as it is, consists only of 49 triangles drawn on a map of New York City. The points and lines, selected by chance, do not indicate notes or rhythms, but rather invite listeners to consider the sounds and textures that exist naturally in the city. This video realization of the piece accepts the challenge: director Don Gillespie ventures to every point on Cage's map and capture the music--car sirens, birds singing, people talking--that exists naturally along the way. The finished project combines sounds from 147 locations into an intriguing, nostalgic rumination on the diverse vibrations of urban life.
Description by Koch Entertainment Distribution:
Originally created as an invitation by Rolling Stone magazine in 1977, as part of a gala issue celebrating the magazine's move from San Francisco to New York, which featured literary and art contributors honoring its new home. Cage constructed his waltzes as a series of 49 multi-colored triangles superimposed on the Hagstrom map of New York City, each point derived by the use of chance operations. Wanting to celebrate Cage's memory, Don Gillespie decided to collect the sights and sounds from the locations specified in "49 Waltzes." This ambitious project of filming Cage's 147 specific locations in New York's five boroughs took one year to complete.